Machine Head

Machine Head is a metal band formed in 1991 in Oakland, California. The group was founded by guitarist and vocalist Robb Flynn and bassist Adam Duce. The current lineup consists of Flynn, drummer Matt Alston, guitarist Vogg Kieltyka, and bassist Jared MacEachern. Machine Head was one of the pioneering bands in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal.

Machine Head was formed by Robb Flynn, previously a member of the bands Forbidden and Vio-lence. Flynn felt musically dissatisfied with Vio-lence and asked to start a side project. When his request was denied by the other members, he left the band and formed Machine Head in 1991 with Adam Duce, Logan Mader, and Tony Constanza. The band’s first album, Burn My Eyes , was a great success in Europe, where it gained good repercussion with MTV’s Headbangers Ball program. In the US (with HBB taken off the air during the grunge movement) Machine Head would not achieve success until later albums.

The band nearly disbanded in 2002 after having their contract with Roadrunner Records terminated due to a controversy surrounding their fourth album, Supercharger (released three weeks after the September 11, 2001 attacks), having their songs and the music video produced for the song “Crashing Around You” (which featured burning buildings) removed from all media. The band re-signed with Roadrunner shortly thereafter and has released four albums since 2003, with The Blackening (2007) being nominated for a Grammy Award. Machine Head has sold over 3 million records worldwide.

Burn My Eyes
Their first album, called Burn My Eyes (1994), was acclaimed by fans and critics alike. Having several tracks that became true anthems for fans of this style of music. For example: “Davidian”, “Old” and “None But My Own”. It was for many years the best-selling debut album on the RoadRunner Records label.

The More Things Change

Guitarist Phil Demmel performing with the band in 2009.
With the release of their first album the band was called the “children of Slayer”, for the heaviness and the notable influence this band had on them. After this, drummer Chris Kontos left the band to join Testament and Dave McClain replaced him. They released their second album The More Things Change (1997).

This new album marked a new phase for the band. The songs became more aggressive and with a certain hardcore sound. “The More Things Change…” was also very successful with the band’s fans, highlighting songs like “Ten Ton Hammer” and “Take My Scars”.

The name ”The More Things Change” was taken from a verse in the song ”Struck a Nerve”, the third track on the album.

The Burning Red
In 1998 guitarist Logan Mader unexpectedly left the band and was replaced by Ahrue Luster. With this new guitarist the band released a new album in 1999, entitled The Burning Red. This was perhaps the band’s most controversial album. The musical and possibly visual style of the band had clearly changed quite a bit. Strong new metal influences were noted, including vocal work of a “rap style” and simpler guitar bases. But in compensation it was probably the album that made the band better known to the general public, by presenting songs with a more commercial style.

This album features Machine Head classics such as “The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears”, “Exhale The Vile” and even “Message In A Bottle” – an adaptation of the well known classic by The Police.

The album Supercharger, which was released in 2001, was perhaps the most so-called failed album of the band’s career. Among several reasons for this “failure”, one pointed out is that in the music video for the song “Crashing Around You” two buildings were shown in flames, something that could be associated with the World Trade Center bombing, which fortuitously occurred shortly before the release of this video clip. This is in addition to several unconfirmed rumors of cases of depression and conflict among band members.

In 2002, amidst mutual citations of “creative differences”, guitarist Ahrue Luster was separated from the band, then joined by Ill Niño, and replaced by Phil Demmel who had previously played with Robb Flynn in the band Vio-lence. Then in 2003 the live album Hellalive recorded at the Brixton Academy in London was released, containing mostly the band’s most acclaimed hits played exquisitely before a fully filled and extremely active audience.

Through the Ashes of Empires
Still in 2003 the album Through the Ashes of Empires was released in Europe, and then in 2004 it was released in the United States. Through the Ashes of Empires was a true return to the roots for Machine Head. With the sound and the aggressiveness of the music clearly showing the desire to get closer to the metal style with which they started their career, this record is considered by many as the best of the band since Burn My Eyes. It features songs that soon became classics, such as “Imperium”, “Seasons Wither”, and “Descend the Shades of Night”.

Metallica Tribute
Recently, Machine Head recorded the song “Battery” by Metallica for a commemorative edition of the 20th anniversary of the album Master of Puppets promoted by the American rock magazine Kerrang!

The bands Trivium, Mendeed, Bullet For My Valentine, Chimaira, Fightstar, the illustrious Mastodon and Funeral for a Friend also participated in the recording of this album.

The Blackening

Robb Flynn (left) and Phil Demmel (right).
Lately, the band has produced their sixth album, released on March 27, 2007. The album is called The Blackening and features tracks like “Aesthetics of Hate”, “Halo”, “The Beautiful Mourning” and “Now I Lay Thee Down”.

Clearly an evolutionary album, although in it remains alive their metal roots, where some of the heaviest riffs ever recorded by the band stand out, incorporating however many melodies and joint vocal works of strong resonance and beauty. Besides the evolution without losing the roots, it is also admirable the remarkable maturity reached by the band in musical composition without losing the youthfulness and aggressiveness (notions that have been confirmed by the band members themselves), and also the absence of prejudice or fear to realize their personal musical concepts without losing respect for their large community of fans, their loyalty and their expectations. Produced once again by Robert Flynn and mixed by Colin Richardson (Fear Factory, Bullet for My Valentine), “The Blackening” continues to claim the band’s continually deserved place at the forefront of the metal world.

Iron Maiden Tribute
The band participated in the Iron Maiden tribute album produced by Kerrang magazine, called Maiden Heaven. Playing “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, the band joined this cover to 14 others, played by bands like DevilDriver, Metallica, Dream Theater and Trivium, that filled out the album released on July 16, 2008.

Unto the Locust (2010-2012)
In November 2010, Machine Head began writing the new material for their seventh studio album, Unto the Locust . [4] With Robb Flynn as producer, Machine Head officially began recording the album on April 16, 2011, Green Day Jingletown ‘s Studios in Oakland, California.

In the summer of 2011, Machine Head toured as part of the Rockstar Mayhem Festival . During the tour, the band debuted a new song from the album Unto the Locust , titled “Locust”. The song was later released on Amazon and iTunes on June 14, 2011. Unto the Locust was released on September 27, 2011 to critical acclaim. The album charted in several countries, including number 22 in the US (the first time the band ever broke the top 25 in the US) and at number 5 in Germany.

The bands that influence Machine Head are: Sepultura, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Pantera, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Exodus, Testament, Suicidal Tendencies, Pantera, Fear Factory, Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains.[6] Machine Head is considered one of the pioneer bands in the new wave of American heavy metal, as well as part of the second wave of thrash metal bands of the 1990s.